I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
She sent me a text, “I’m such a loser.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because it’s Saturday night, I shaved my vagina and this guy flaked on our date.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“We we met online a few days ago. He’s super hot and didn’t even get sexual for most of the conversation. He asked me to dinner and I got ready and washed my hair and even shaved my legs and now I look like a loser sitting here waiting for him in my apartment to pick me up and he just texted me that he has some emergency work meeting. It’s total bullshit.”
“It is.” I said.
“Why would he put in all this time with me saying all these things and even ask ME out and then flake at the last minute?”
This wasn’t the first time I had heard of a guy pulling this. Or the first time this month. Or even the first time this week. In fact, it is one of the most common issues with online dating… guys asking women out on dates and pulling out at the last minute.
It is easy to talk a big game behind a keyboard or phone while you’re sitting comfortable on your couch binge-watching Netflix. The difference is, you get those few seconds to craft just the right response you wouldn’t normally have in person with the nervous weight looming over the scenario. You don’t have to worry about having a good hair day, whether you picked out the right outfit, or if you are sitting under the right lighting. You can easily sit back in your dirty underwear, covered in last night’s pizza sauce, charmingly tapping away at the keys while you live out the fantasy of the person you wish you truly were.
We all play a role. Online dating gives us the opportunity to create an avatar of all of our best qualities. We play up what we believe are our most appealing qualities and omit our short-comings. It is extremely rare to see a profile that reads: “Some days I will be your best friend but without warning, I will be a total asshole to you until I get something to eat. I might insult your family and belittle everything you love but just know that tomorrow I might go back to normal. Or not. Or maybe I will cheat on you and send naked pictures of myself to your friends because I can’t help it you hang out with hot people. And don’t expect me to be respectful while I’m drinking because there’s a pretty good chance I will be verbally abusive.”
I once read a poll of over 3000 anonymous people from online dating sites that over 55% of men were either married or in committed relationships. So what does this mean? That more than half of the people in the world are deceitful if they know they can get away with it? Possibly. But it doesn’t take online dating to figure that out. If someone is going to cheat on you, they don’t need an online profile to do it. Online dating is only one tool of many to a cheater. But it does give you the opportunity to portray someone you are not. You can use old pictures from when you looked more attractive, thinner pictures, photoshopped pictures, and even fake pictures. You can lie about your height, weight, and income. And you can read from a downloadable script of flirtatious banter and project an air of false confidence.
People do this all the time, in every city, and for all sorts of reasons. Whether it is to see if you respond positively and stroke their ego, whether it is for the attention they are so desperate for, or whether it is simply because they are insecure and cruel and like to fool strangers – the reasons are irrelevant. All that matters is the fact that you have been lead to believe someone is something they are not. But the truth is, the reason why most guys flake on you is for one of two reasons:
1. They are married or in a committed relationship and can’t make an excuse as to why they need to get away.
Or 2. They never had the intention of ever meeting up with you in the first place and they wanted to see just how far they could take it and if you would agree to meet.
The latter is about ego. They get to play out the fantasy of being the suave single guy with all the right things to say. And maybe he talked you into a naked picture or two and it helped him with masturbation material for the evening. And maybe he wanted to string you along for a while because it was fun. And maybe you remind him of the women who wouldn’t give him the time of day in high school and this is his dysfunctional revenge. Or maybe because you kept his mind off of the stress of his job and the monotony of his life. Or maybe you gave him the attention he craves but doesn’t get at home from his wife or girlfriend. But you’ll never know because liars rarely come clean and tell the whole truth, especially to someone they will potentially will never meet or become truly invested in.
So how can you tell if someone is being honest with you? Well, you can’t. Sure, you could always dig through their social media and hunt for clues, but really, you have better things to do with your time. If someone is appealing, go with it. If they treat you well and are respectful and you are excited about something developing, let it happen. And if they turn out to be a flake, so what. Move on and consider yourself lucky that you found out early on and not six months down the road. Better to learn about a person’s insincerity sooner than later. Because that’s what this entire journey is about. It’s not about buying a single lottery card and expecting to win, it’s about learning to deal with defeat and going back out there with optimism. It’s about knowing you have to keep playing if you want to stack the odds in your favor. And it’s about knowing that tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities and you never have to stick around for childish little boys who play games with your emotions.